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Title: Elope With Me, Miss Private
Author: [livejournal.com profile] poor_choices
Fandom: J2 RPS
Pairing: Jared/Jensen
Rating: PG
Warnings: None I can think of. If I missed any, please let me know!
Word Count: 3100.
Summary: Jared's mostly really happy to start online school with his internet BFF. Mostly.
Notes: Out of retirement for one night only for the last round of [livejournal.com profile] j2_everafter! I picked Pixel Perfect, which made way less sense than I remembered, so I ignored most of the actual plot and ended up with a thing.
Disclaimer: Lies and untruths.


"I thought this was a good thing," Chad says, spinning around in Jared's chair. "Why are you freaking out?"

"Because it's Jensen," says Jared, groaning. "We've been friends for like four years, and now we're going to be in school together, and he's going to realize I--suck."

"You don't suck, dude."

"Okay, but--" he sighs. "Online, I can be funny and cool and stuff, and it's not like--we just talk about video games and comic books! It's not, like, school, where there will be other people and it matters what they think."

"It's online school, right?" says Chad. "So who gives a shit?"

"It's VR," says Jared. "It's different. It's not like we're just chatting. And I'll still be--" he gestures. "Me."

"Yeah, no, you won't!" says Chad. "Okay, so you're kinda clumsy and suck at sports, which is why you didn't have friends at real school. No one's gonna give a shit about that online! And we can pretty up your avatar, you know? You won't be all scrawny and ugly and shit. Your inner beauty can shine through or whatever."

"Your avatar must have the same sex, race, hair color, eye color and height as your physical self," Jared recites. He's memorized the school guidelines. "Any student who wishes to change any of these characteristics must submit a written request to the administration."

"Dude, that's fine! We can make you a total virtual hottie. Smooth out your voice so it's not breaking all the time, get your crazy hairstyle under control, lose the dorky glasses, program clothes that actually fit--trust me, you're going to be cybering with your virtual boyfriend in under a week."

"He's not my boyfriend!" Jared protests. "He's just--"

"The dude you spend all your time chatting with that you wanna bone."

Jared considers. "Pretty much, yeah. Let's hot up my avatar."

*

Jared and Jensen don't talk much about their real lives. Jared knows Jensen isn't unpopular. He plays baseball, went to the Homecoming dance, and sometimes has stuff to do on Friday nights. He's going to have friends at their new online school, and Jared--Jared's never had many friends. He just has Chad, who only started hanging out with him because they were lab partners freshman year. He's not sure why Chad still hangs out with him, but, to be honest, he gave up on understanding Chad a long time ago. The guy is just completely inexplicable.

Anyway. Jared's always struggled with the social part of school--he got a great growth spurt with puberty, but it just made him clumsier, and he's never been any good at sports. He has acne, and his parents aren't very well off, so he wears his (much more muscular) brother's clothes, and his glasses are cheap, black plastic frames that don't suit him at all.

Even if none of that is going to be a factor at an online school, Jared still can't imagine fitting in. He'll still be a dork who's more interested in video games and comic books than sports, and that's not something everyone wants to talk about.

But there will be Jensen. That matters.

*

Jared doesn't have the high-quality VR goggles and gloves that a lot of kids do. He's still interfacing with a monitor and keyboard, but he barely even cares, because--Jensen. Jensen and a school where he looks, if not hot, at least normal. A place where he's not going to stand out, or trip over himself. A fresh start.

So it's incredibly sad and embarrassing when he still manages to bump into someone trying to rush to his locker.

"Sorry!" he says, reflexively, and his headset processes it, makes his voice smoother, a little deeper.

"Dude, no worries," says the other guy, standing up. "It's not like I could feel it, right?"

Jensen A. is over his head in white font, and Jared gapes for a second before he manages, "Um, Jensen?"

The avatar in front of him is a few inches shorter than he is, with spiky brown hair and green eyes. He has freckles and glasses that suit him, thin wire frames emphasizing his eyes and long eyelashes. If Jensen is half that hot in real life, he's still totally out of Jared's league.

"Jared!" says the guy, delighted. He has a nice voice too, warm and friendly, and Jared is just fucked, right? That's what's happening. He is fucked if this is anything like the real Jensen, because he's just not that guy. "Man, it is so good to see you!" He hugs Jared, and even though it's not real, Jared still feels warm and fuzzy and happy.

"So to speak," says Jared, wryly. "But yeah, man, it's great to see you."

"Jerk," says Jensen fondly. He looks Jared up and down, smiling. "Weird, right? Man, I--" He shakes his head. He must be using some pretty good VR gear, to get this kind of verisimilitude. "Surreal, but awesome."

"Definitely," says Jared, telling his own avatar to grin. "Hey, what's your first class? We got anything together?"

It turns out they have English and math together, and the same lunch period. There are a couple guys from Jensen's old school who he's friends with in their classes too, and Jared is trying really hard not to be jealous. It's easier when Jensen suggests they head to the library instead of the cafeteria with everyone else.

"What about those guys you were talking to in English?"

Jensen shrugs. "I dunno. They're fine and all, but we never had that much in common." He smiles. "Besides, I finally get to talk to you."

Jared flushes, and is suddenly very grateful his avatar doesn't respond to what he's doing. "We talk all the time, man."

"I know," says Jensen. He ducks his head. "But this feels--real, you know? I know you're really a dude, your name is really Jared, you're actually my age..."

"What, you thought I was an old lady or something?"

"Nah," says Jensen. "I thought you were exactly what you said you were. But I still had to wonder, you know?"

"I know."

"Plus, you're in Texas! Can't believe you never told me."

Jared laughs. It had been a surprise when he found out he and Jensen were in the same school--TX113, one of twenty online public schools for students in the state of Texas. He'd figured there was no chance they'd even be in the same state, let alone the same school. "Yeah, well, you never told me either, you know."

"True," Jensen says. He sits down at a table in the library, and Jared sits down across from him. "I'm going no-hands?" he says. "And if you hear chewing, it's because I'm chewing."

"Wow, thanks for clearing that up."

"God, you're a BEEP in real life," Jensen says, and Jared laughs.

"Dude, it just censored you. Like, old-school TV style."

"Seriously?"

"Seriously."

"Well, I guess I can't insult you," he says. "Tell me about you instead."

"You know about me."

"Not the real you," says Jensen. "I know what video games you play, and what TV you like to watch, but--"

"You know way more than that," Jared protests. "You know all the important stuff. You know me better than anyone."

Jensen pauses, and then he smiles. "Yeah, I guess I do," he says. "But I wanna know about school you. You never talked about it. Are any of your friends here?"

"Nah," says Jared. "We, uh--we got assigned to different places." It's not even true for Chad--Chad's still going to real school. But there's no way he's going to say No, I don't have any friends.

"That sucks," says Jensen. "Are you going out for any of the teams?"

"Teams?" asks Jared, making a face. "We still have teams?"

"They're by region, not by school," says Jensen, shrugging. "I guess they didn't want us to completely lose our physical activity."

"That would be a shame," Jared says dryly.

Jensen laughs. "I'm thinking of switching to track. I, uh--I figured I'd ask if you'd be there too."

Jared flushes. "No," he says. "No, probably not."

"Okay," says Jensen. Jared can hear him chewing. "Brothers or sisters?"

He relaxes a little. "One of each," he says, and just like that, it's easy again, talking to Jensen. Almost like it used to be.

*

Jensen keeps bringing it up, though, in big and small ways. There are regional sporting events and club meetups and plays, and Jensen always asks if Jared is going or trying out, and Jared doesn't know what to do. He sort of thought Jensen knew he was a loser with no life, but now that it turns out Jensen somehow missed it, he's not really in a hurry to point out the mistake.

Which is how he somehow ends up saying, "Oh, yeah, no, I'm in a band, so I'm pretty busy."

"In a band?" Chad asks, when Jared tells him, in tones of deep despair. "Dude!"

"I know!" says Jared. "I panicked. He asked if I was going to join Latin club. I couldn't let him think I sucked too much to even be in Latin club!"

"Yeah, pretending to be in a band is way cooler than joining Latin club."

"I knoooow," says Jared, miserably. "It just came out! And now he's all interested and asking me about my band and if we've got a gig anytime soon and--" he groans. "I'm the worst. At everything. And he's perfect."

"This is sad," says Chad. "Like, dude. I don't even know what to do with you right now. You're a fake rock star?"

"No, I'm just--in a fake rock band," he protests. "Which is--" he buries his face in his hands. "Yeah, this is really sad. Fuck. Why couldn't he be--less great?"

"Oh god," says Chad, with an exaggerated sigh. "The only thing worse than hearing about how sad you are is hearing how great your non-boyfriend is. I hate your life, man."

"Yeah, me too."

*

Jared's heading to the library after school on Friday to download a few books for his history report this weekend when he hears someone call, "Hey, Jay, wait up!"

Jared turns, stopping so Jensen can catch up with him. "Hey man, what's up?"

"What region are you in?"

Jared has been trying to avoid this conversation, because he's not sure if he can deal with knowing he's in a different region from Jensen. Or the same region. Pretty much anything would be more knowledge than he can handle.

"Um, six," he says, regardless, because Jensen did straight-out ask.

Jensen lights up. "Yeah?"

"Yeah," says Jared, unsure. "Why?"

"We need a band for the region six homecoming dance!" says Jensen. When Jared doesn't say anything, he goes on, "Yeah, yeah, I don't know how I got roped into helping to plan, shut up. But if you're in six too, you can play, right? And then I'd finally get to meet you."

Jared's gaping like an idiot, which means his avatar isn't doing anything. "I, you--what?" he finally manages.

Jensen rubs the back of his neck. "Dude, I've been trying to get you to go to everything. I was gonna go to whatever region you were in." He laughs. "Which--sounds really sad now. But you're in my region, and I have to go to this stupid dance, so you should--come. And play. And I can meet you."

"You want to meet me?" Jared manages weakly.

"Of course."

"But I'm--no you don't," Jared says.

He hits the logoff button, and the school disappears before Jensen can say anything.

*

He stays offline and in hiding for the entire weekend, not even checking his email. He doesn't talk to Chad because he doesn't even know what he'd want from Chad. He feels stupid and off kilter, unsure.

Jensen probably wants to meet him, but Jensen probably thinks he's--better. That he's more like his avatar, more attractive, smoother, better voice, in a band. And that's all his fault, yeah. It's not like Jensen just made all that stuff up.

But he's not sure the real him is the kind of person Jensen wants to meet. And Jensen always seems to think there's more to him, like he's not getting all of Jared, and Jared knows that as soon as he figures it out this is it, he's going to be disappointed.

Of course, first thing Monday morning, he's already pretty disappointed.

"What the BEEP!"

"Sorry," Jared mutters, not turning to look at him. "I'm--I suck, okay? I suck! I am terrible. I'm not really in a band, I'm not really--like this! I'm this sad, awkward, nerdy kid with bad skin and zero muscle and messy hair and--you don't wanna meet me. You wouldn't even want to be friends with me if we met in real life. I--"

"Dude!" Jensen says. "Shut the BEEP up, BEEP. You're being a BEEP."

"Uh," says Jared. "Like half the words in that got censored. I'm not really sure where you were going with it."

"BEEP," says Jensen. "You're an idiot, okay? You said it yourself, I know you better than anyone. I, uh--I have no idea what you're worried about, honestly. I just want to hang out with you."

"You got that part where I just, like--lied about a bunch of stuff?"

"I didn't really think you looked like your avatar," Jensen says, gently. "Half of your features are still set to the default, I'm not an idiot. I don't look exactly like mine, either. And--dude, I wasn't really convinced you were in a band. You never went to practice, you were always really shifty about everything when I asked about it, and you told me before you weren't musical."

"Why didn't you call me on it?"

Jensen shrugs. "I didn't really care. I figured you'd tell me when you wanted to tell me. And--honestly, I was getting tired of you shooting me down, so it was kind of nice to just pretend maybe the band was real and it wasn't just me."

"Shooting you down," Jared repeats. "Because you want to meet me."

"I want to do a whole lot more than meet you," says Jensen. "But we can start there." He gives Jared a grin. "So, will you go to homecoming with me?"

Jared gapes, and then has to get up and jump up a down a little (he is never getting anything that tracks his movements, seriously), because--that's a date. A definite, no questions about it, date request.

"Um," he says. "Sure. But I'm not--"

"I've had a crush on you for like three years," Jensen says. "Trust me, Jay, whatever you think you're not? You are."

*

"So, why is this a problem?" Chad asks.

Jared holds up another shirt, and Chad frowns and shakes his head. "That's why," says Jared hopelessly. "I have no idea what to wear, I have no idea what I'm doing, I--"

"Dude," says Chad, getting up and standing next to him. He roots through the closet and picks a button down. "Wear this. Breathe. He knows you don't look like your avatar, he knows you're not in a band, he fucking said he had a crush on you. What's your freakout, exactly?"

"I don't know," Jared admits, buttoning the shirt. "I'm just so used to freaking out about this now, I don't know how to stop."

Chad smacks him. "Dude, just go make out with the guy. Unless he's ugly."

"He's not gonna be ugly," Jared mutters.

"Why are you so convinced he's perfect?" Chad asks, flopping back on the bed with a sigh. "So he plays baseball and gets involved in school stuff, so what? You're his best friend, right? Cuz you guys got along great and had tons of stuff in common. He's probably a loser too."

"That--no," says Jared. "He's not."

"What if he is?" Chad asks. "If he's some short, ugly dude with tons of acne and a pocket protector, are you gonna stop wanting to bone him?"

Jared considers this. "No," he says. "Well, I don't think so. I can't be sure we're gonna hit it off in person, but--it's Jensen. I don't really care what he looks like."

"So he probably feels the same way." Chad groans. "I can't believe I am dedicating my Saturday night to working out your dumb love life. This is sad. And you're going to a dance and I'm not! What gives?"

Jared laughs. "Thanks, Chad."

"Yeah, yeah," says Chad. "You better get laid."

*

The dance is--weird. There really aren't many people dancing, which is normal, based on the once dance Jared's mom made him go to, but it's not because everyone's too scared of the opposite sex--everyone is too busy talking, putting faces together with avatars, and trying to find their new friends. Jared sees a couple arguing about how they, apparently, do not look anything like they do online, and it's almost enough to make him turn around and go home.

Although, given how excited his mom was that he was going to a dance to meet a friend, he's pretty sure she wouldn't come back to get him. She wants him to socialize.

Besides, Jensen already knows he doesn't look like his avatar. So there's really, definitely, no reason to be nervous.

No reason at all.

He's been at the beverage table for what he knows, intellectually, cannot be more than fifteen minutes or so (three songs and change), but feels like two thousand years, when he spots Jensen.

The weirdest thing is that he recognizes him, even though he doesn't look that much like his avatar. There's only so close anyone can get to their real face with current technology, and Jensen's freckles are less pronounced, his eyes aren't quite as green, his lips are a little bigger than his avatar's. He's different in a thousand big and little ways.

But Jared knows.

And Jensen doesn't recognize him. Jensen walks right by.

Jared thinks about not saying anything. He thinks about letting Jensen think he chickened out--Jensen would forgive him. Jensen's that kind of guy.

His palms are sweating, his shirt collar is itchy, and he feels too big and too awkward to exist.

But somehow, he reaches out, catches Jensen's shoulder, and says, "Hi."

Jensen turns, looks him up and down, and grins, his whole face lighting up, and it's love at first sight, except Jared was in love long before he ever saw Jensen's face. "Hi," he says. "I'm Jensen."

"Jared."

"Nice to meet you, Jared," says Jensen, and Jared can't stop smiling.

"Yeah. You too."
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